Hungary will boycott Durban U.N. conference – here’s why

By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

The United Kingdom announced at the end of June that it would boycott a U.N. event in September named the Durban Conference, actually held in New York, citing “past anti-Semitism”. The conference is similarly boycotted by the United States, Canada, and Australia; within the EU, the boycott was first announced by Hungary, followed by Austria, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic.

The original conference, which the current event seeks to commemorate, was held in 2001 in Durban, South Africa. The official title of the U.N. event at the time was the World Conference against Racism, but contrary to its declared purpose, it became primarily a forum for accusations against Israel by third-world dictators, and the adopted statement severely discriminated against the Jewish state.

In preparation for the 2001 conference, Asian member states held a preliminary meeting in Tehran, Iran, in February 2001. Is was there that a statement was adopted that Israel is committing a “new apartheid” and “crimes against humanity”, and that it is “practicing a kind of genocide” against its Arab population.

This text was eventually omitted from the final declaration of the Durban conference, but it stated that Palestinians were “living under foreign occupation”, referring not only to the West Bank, but to the Palestinians living in Israel in general. The logical implication of the text was that Palestinians live under occupation from Tel Aviv to West Jerusalem.

At the conference, third-world leaders such as Yasser Arafat attacked Israel, calling the Jewish state “racist”, while Cuban dictator Fidel Castro spoke of the “horrific genocide” Israel was committing against the Palestinians. The declared goal of the current 2021 event is to help “implement” the points of the declaration adopted in 2001.

The Hungarian boycott fits in with the official position of the Hungarian government, which is pro-Israel and promises zero tolerance of anti-Semitism, further proof that the new anti-Semitism is largely opposed by Central and Eastern European states in the EU.

Title image: Israeli nationalists rally at the Damascus gate in Jerusalem on June 15, 2021. (MTI/EPA/Abir Sultan)

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